The European project “FRANCIS” aims at the development of frugal innovations in open innovation challenges that involve citizens. Besides citizens, the project involves scientists and industry in the innovation process.
In total, there will be two challenges
The scope of the 1st challenge will be theculinary worldand home care. Focused target groups are troubled families, people with a minimalistic lifestyle and elderly people living alone.
The 2nd challenge targetssolar disinfection. Target groups are minimalistic consumers, low-/middle-income households in (semi-)rural areas, people in refugee camps and micro-entrepreneurs.
The target countries of the two challenges span from Turkey and Germany to India, Egypt, Bangladesh and Uganda.
Citizens can join the challenges via an online platform as well as face-to-face events. Scientists run workshops during the challenges that offer method training. In addition, each participating team has a “buddy” support, i.e. a student, who assists them in practical matters throughout the whole challenge process. They can also exchange directly with mentors from the companies that host the challenges. Extensive communication activities – by social media, videos, a blog and a podcast series – ensure easy access for the marginalized groups.
In general, FRANCIS puts a lot of effort into ensuring that the civil society is activated and motivated to participate in the challenges and potential barriers are overcome. This action is supported by behavioural tests and analyses, to gain insight into the barriers most typically encountered at different stages of the Frugal Innovation process and to generate effective mitigation strategies. The project also aims at aligning the challenges with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and indicators for Responsible Research and Innovation. The project will define an assessment for this purpose that will be tested in the two challenges.
The FRANCIS project objectives are as follows:
Set up a “Citizen Frugal Innovation Toolbox” - This is for setting up suitable innovation methods to support citizens with methods, templates and training material to foster inspiration. This is intended to support the design of future Frugal Innovation project initiatives and so to reduce the initial effort for the organization of such initiatives.
Setup and run two Open Innovation challenges - Launched in February 2021, the first phase of the project in 2021 will establish a scientific foundation with recommendations on how to involve different participants groups in the challenges and how to encourage the shared development of ideas. The second phase, which will take place in 2022 and 2023, will run two open innovation challenges, each mentored by an industry partner, who supports the participants in detailing their ideas.
Develop an interdisciplinary “Citizen Frugal Innovation framework”- This will be based on available evidence that includes challenges and barriers, costs and benefits. It will serve as a hands-on for interested stakeholders for future sustainable collaborations in the Frugal Innovation sphere to avoid barriers from the beginning and to optimize the project progress. Lessons learned from the challenges will be incorporated into the citizen frugal innovation framework at the end of the project, so that they can serve as a guide for future frugal innovation initiatives.